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The BIG Challenge - attracting the birds and the bees

Hanna Hayward   04 Aug 2014 Community, Health and wellbeing

As considerate contractors, we not only want to minimise the impact construction works will have on the environment, but also use it as an opportunity to increase biodiversity in and around our sites.
On 14 October 2014, the CIRIA BIG Challenge Awards will take place which will reward participants who have gone beyond their normal business practice to enhance biodiversity, through innovative measures, big or small.
BAM project teams in the London region have taken up the BIG Challenge, by sharing their ideas and showing that doing one thing can enhance biodiversity.  All the initiatives promote sustainability by reusing surplus materials, engaging local community and supply chain and enhancing biodiversity. 
As space is at a premium on site, it can be tricky to find the room to plant anything. But at BAM’s Fish and Coal Building project in King’s Cross, a site garden has been created along the site path, to encourage pollinators  to site and improve employee wellbeing.
The BAM team at Sir Charles Kao UTC in Harlow wanted to improve the appearance of the site compound so decided to plant a herb garden. This was so successful that it was developed by reusing surplus timber to build planters. The team was also keen to upcycle items such as welly boots and paint tubs into planters, which now contain a variety of bee-friendly plants such as lavender and fuchsia. This has attracted plenty of pollinators and bird feeders have also helped increase biodiversity on site.
But it’s not only the bees we want to attract to sites. Bird boxes and bird feeders have been installed in trees adjacent to the compound at Harris Academy Greenwich, a great use of space and hopefully a lasting legacy for local birds for many years to come!
Enhancing biodiversity can also help support the curriculum of local schools. This was the case at the Heathrow Aviation Engineering UTC in Northwood Hills. The project team made planters from surplus timber and the students from the adjacent school helped to plant flowers at the site entrance. The team also built a skip garden for the school which has enabled students to grow, nurture and harvest organic produce, as part of a gardening club to learn horticultural skills.
These are just some of the great ideas that are improving biodiversity on our sites. The BIG Challenge has really helped highlight how doing one small thing on sites can enhance biodiversity, and will hopefully inspire others to do the same. After all, where would we be without the birds and the bees?
Hanna Hayward is a Sustainability Advisor at BAM.



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